Welcome to 2015’s first edition of Weekend Reading! We kick off the new year with stories on the bevy of Windows devices revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show, the debut of the Next at Microsoft Podcast series with a segment on George Takei and access to Office 365 to all Maryland public school students.
At the CES 2015 show in Las Vegas, Windows devices are delivering more premium choices than ever. For instance, a gaming laptop by ORIGIN PC is as well-outfitted as Major Cormack in “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.” All-in-one desktops save on space but deliver on style, and deluxe laptops like the ASUS T300 Chi laptop have a 12.5-inch screen that’s so thin, you could almost slice a cake with it. They’re just some of the enticing new Windows laptops, desktops, tablets and gaming PCs unveiled by hardware manufacturers this week. Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s OEM Division, says these devices represent a “remarkable transformation in many of the existing device categories, with new hardware designs and components that deliver new and exciting solutions for customers,” including “all-in-ones becoming portable, gaming rigs delivering righteous power, premium notebooks that are ultra-thin, light and mobile, and two-in-ones that enable fluid transformation from notebook to tablet.”
The debut of the Next at Microsoft Podcast – a series of discussions with original thinkers, innovators and tech luminaries – begins with George Takei. You know him as Mr. Sulu from “Star Trek,” but you probably also know there’s much more to him than his signature science fiction role. In real life, Takei is an advocate for human rights and marriage equality, and he has a huge following on Facebook and Twitter. Takei recently visited the Microsoft campus in Redmond to film an episode of his Web series, “Takei’s Take,” and sat down with Microsoft Editor David Chen to talk about what Takei saw on campus, including work done by a Microsoft hackathon team to help former NFL player Steve Gleason, who has ALS, use his eyes to control his wheelchair and to speed up the way he types on the computer keyboard.
Maryland is giving all public school students access to Office 365 at both school and home, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery announced Thursday. The Department of Education also announced 25 new IT Academy programs for schools across the state.
Elsewhere in Office, there were new additions and expansions of previews. As Office 365 business customers discover the still-rolling out Office Delve, they can now use a new feature in it – boards. This next step makes it easier to organize all the valuable content in Delve. Use boards to group together and share related documents. If you have an ARM-based Android tablet running KitKat or Lollipop, with a screen size between seven and 10.1 inches, you can go to Google Play and download the Word, Excel and PowerPoint preview apps. Moving on to another preview, if you’re in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and a number of other countries where English is an official language, you can now download Sway for iPhone from the App Store. Sway for iPhone is already available in New Zealand and Australia.
While there were many devices unveiled at CES, we also saw the introduction of a new Nokia phone. The entry-level Nokia 215 and Nokia 215 Dual-SIM debuts for the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe for only $29 will come Internet-ready with social media staples preinstalled. Owners will also be able to surf the Web with Opera Mini Browser and Bing Search. Facebook and Messenger on board will make it easy to check friends’ news feeds, update status and keep in touch with others. Or, use Twitter to do the same in 140 characters.
The influx of apps and games for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets includes the App of the Week and the Red Stripe Deals. The App of the Week, Madefire is a free comic book reader that embeds sounds, motion and depth into digital comics and cartoons through a format called Motion Books. Its latest update unlocks their massive library so that top publishers such as DC Comics, IDW, Dark Horse and Top Cow are now available, delivering favorite classics as well as new releases updated weekly. While most holiday sales have petered out, the weekly Red Stripe Deals keep going strong, with at least 50 percent off a dozen apps and games for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. The latest batch includes “NBA JAM” (Boomshakalaka!) and “Spirit of Wandering – The Legend HD (Full).” The newest update to “Subway Surfers” takes place in Las Vegas. For more fun on the slots, check out “Microsoft Jackpot.” And if you need to corral your Twitter activity, Tweetium can do it in a flexible, versatile design and modern layout that delivers simple searching for users and tweets, multi-window support and more than a dozen color schemes.
This week on the Microsoft Instagram page, we introduced fans to Siew Te Wong, founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in #Malaysia. The only facility of its kind in the world, Wong’s sanctuary provides care, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and captive bears. #DoMore.
Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!
Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff
Tags: Apps, CES, education, Games, Instagram, iPhone, Nokia, Office, Office 365, podcast, Sway, Weekend Reading